Nautilus - Snails, Shells, and Mollusks in Photography

January 13 to April 15, 2018

Group show with Herbert Bayer, Imogen Cunningham, Alfred Ehrhardt, Andreas Feininger, Florence Henri, Fred Koch, Fritz Kühn, Herbert List, Lee Miller, Aenne Mosbacher, Man Ray, Walter Peterhans, Edward Steichen, Otto Steinert, Josef Sudek, Edward Weston, Wols et al.

In addition to plants and crystals, snails, shells, and other mollusks (conchs) are among the “structural forms in nature” that particularly fascinated the photographers of the modern era. The Alfred Ehrhardt Foundation is presenting the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to this photographic subject matter along with an accompanying catalogue. The starting point of the exhibition is the collection of photographs from the estate of Alfred Ehrhardt, which the photographer published in his photo books Muscheln und Schnecken (Shells and Snails, 1941) and Geprägte Form (Shaped Form, 1968).

The human interest in seashells and the shells of snails dates back to the very beginning of culture and has left many traces throughout the history of culture, certainly also in the visual arts. Shells have been a popular motif among artists and photographers, not only due to their fascinating wealth of forms but also their beauty, sculptural qualities, and the mathematical precision or their spiral growth. Through photography, more than any other artistic media, shells—as cosmic, religious, mythological, and sexual symbols—have come to signify a timeless world existing beyond the material realm.

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Cunningham, Imogen, Presse Nautilus 2018_kl.jpg
Ehrhardt, Alfred, MUS-0051S, Presse Nautilus 2018_kl.jpg

Eilers, Bernard, Presse Nautilus 2018_kl.jpg
Sudek, Josef, Presse Nautilus 2018_kl.JPG